The best hearing aid cleaning kit

From bestreviews.com
By
Michael Pollick
BestReviews

Hearing aids should be cleaned professionally on a regular basis to remove any debris an at-home hearing aid cleaning kit cannot reach.

An estimated 20% of the human population has some degree of hearing loss, and audiologists fear this percentage will increase as the damaging effects of loud music, industrial noise and earphone use become more apparent. Unlike eyewear, however, the cost of most hearing aids remains prohibitively high, and the expense is not always covered by health insurance plans.

This means hearing aid users must be vigilant about daily maintenance of these expensive medical devices. Regardless of design, hearing aids are continually exposed to earwax, dust and moisture, and all of those things can damage the hearing aid’s sensitive electronics. A quality hearing aid cleaning kit will not only remove contaminants such as earwax, but will also sanitize and dehumidify the unit itself. 

A basic manual hearing aid cleaning kit generally contains an earwax pick, soft-bristled brush and a microfiber cloth, but an automatic model will also have UV disinfecting lights and a forced-air drying system. One of the best automatic hearing aid cleaning kits on the market is the PerfectDry LUX Automatic Hearing Aid UV-C Disinfecting and Cleaning System, a fast-acting USB-powered model that works well with a range of in-the-ear products.
 

What to know before you buy a hearing aid cleaning kit

Essential hearing aid cleaning tools

Regardless of the retail price point, all hearing aid cleaning kits should contain five important tools to complete the job safely. All cleaning kits need at least one soft-bristled brush for overall debris, dirt and earwax removal from the outer shell. Depending on the brush’s design, some deeper crevice cleaning may be possible.

The second essential tool is a ventilation cleaner, which resembles a small pipe cleaner and is used to remove earwax and moisture from a vent in the battery compartment. The vent cleaner should be pushed entirely through the vent and wiped with a clean, dry towel.

To remove dried or stubborn debris from a hearing aid, a scraping tool called a wax pick is vital. This tool with a sharp point, much like a dental instrument, will safely loosen and remove any hardened debris not addressed by the cleaning brush. The wax pick must be used with care to avoid puncturing filters or sensitive electronics.

A drying station is an essential step in the cleaning process since excess moisture can shorten the lifespan of the hearing aid’s electronics and power supply. Some hearing aid cleaning kits use a forced-air system to dry the components, while others use UV light to speed up the drying process and sanitize the contents. The case also serves as a portable storage unit.

Finally, a microfiber drying cloth is necessary for a final cleaning. It will absorb any remaining moisture, along with any residual earwax, dandruff or other debris. 

Construction materials

The least-expensive hearing aid cleaning kits on store shelves may use a form of plastic as the base material. While these tools may be functional in the short term, durability is definitely an issue, and pieces could break off unexpectedly during use. Cleaning tools that incorporate metal components are a much better option. Some drying chambers feature a battery-powered forced air system, while others also include UV lighting for additional sanitation.

Ease of use

A manual hearing aid cleaning kit, whether it is a compact multitool or a set of instruments, should be comfortable in the hand during use since much of the process requires a delicate touch to avoid damage. A drying station may also serve as a storage case, and brackets should hold each hearing component securely in place during the drying process. Different models have different cycle times, so consumers should consider whether a longer overnight cleaning is more convenient than a faster cycle during the day.

Hearing aid cleaning kit features

Multitools

The tool kit in many hearing aid cleaning sets consists of separate pieces, but some sets incorporate a special multitool. This compact tool includes the most essential cleaning instruments, from a wax pick to a vent cleaner to a bristle brush. The quality of each component may be variable, but the multitool is easier to store in the case between cleaning sessions.

Cleaning agents

Although standard cleaning agents such as water, alcohol wipes and chemical sanitizers are not recommended for hearing aid maintenance, some manufacturers do include special nonalcoholic chemical wipes approved for use with hearing aids. The chemicals in these cleansing wipes evaporate quickly and will not damage sensitive electronics. 

Hearing aid cleaning kit cost 

Comprehensive manual hearing aid cleaning tool kits can cost less than $10, but they can be challenging to find. Automatic hearing aid cleaning kits with UV light disinfection, dehumidifiers and forced-air dryers retail in the $35-$50 range, with higher-end kits costing as much as $125.

Hearing aid cleaning kit FAQ

How often should I clean my hearing aid?

A. You’ll want to develop a regular daily and weekly cleaning schedule to keep your hearing aid in good working order. You should gently brush the microphone cover and wipe the entire hearing aid with a dry, soft cloth daily. Use a wax pick or wire loop weekly to remove ear wax deposits. If your hearing aid includes a special wax guard, replace it weekly as well.

If I’m travelling, can I use an antiseptic wipe to sanitize my hearing aid quickly?

A. You should never use water, alcohol or chemical wipes that are not specifically designed for hearing aids to to clean a hearing aid. The moisture can damage sensitive electronics. You should be able to use a clean paper cloth to perform a quick cleaning in the morning.

Which hearing aid cleaning kit should I get?

Best of the best hearing aid cleaning kit

PerfectDry LUX Automatic Hearing Aid UV-C Disinfecting and Cleaning System: available at Amazon

Our take: This automatic hearing aid cleaning kit is ideal for those who seek a fast-acting “set it and forget” system that also disinfects.

What we like: UV disinfecting light works at all angles. The entire cleaning and disinfecting cycle is complete in 30 minutes. The kit can also be used to clean earbuds and in-ear amplifiers. The compact design makes it easy to store, and the unit can be powered with a USB connection.

What we dislike: The drying cycle may not be long enough for thorough results. Some unexpected failures have been reported.

Best bang for your buck hearing aid cleaning kit

KC Klein Creek 7 Piece Kit Hearing Aid Cleaning Tools: available at Amazon

Our take: First-time hearing aid users will appreciate the affordable price for an all-inclusive cleaning kit that travels well.

What we like: The kit’s entry-level price point is very appealing for beginning users. The kit includes seven essential cleaning pieces, including a microfiber drying cloth. The case is compact enough to carry in a purse or store in a glove compartment. The kit can also hold hearing aids while traveling.

What we dislike: The storage case has durability issues. Some pieces reported missing on arrival.

Honorable mention hearing aid cleaning kit

Kapak AuriClear Automatic Hearing Aid Dryer and Dehumidifier: available at Amazon

Our take: This automatic cleaning/disinfecting system emphasizes the removal of body moisture and humidity, two elements that can damage an expensive hearing aid.

What we like: The 8-minute disinfection cycle is remarkably fast. Kit includes a multitool for routine cleaning between treatments. The entire cleaning process is controlled by a microprocessor. LED status lights provide real-time information on remaining time.

What we dislike: The set may not be compatible with all types of hearing aids. There are some concerns about a short lifespan.
 

Michael Pollick is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

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